Wavepiston’s goal is to make wave energy an important player in the portfolio of renewable energy sources. Noticing the potential of wave power, the company believes it can account for 50% of the world’s electricity needs.
Wavepiston came to Seedrs in 2020 to crowdfund a top-up to their funding round. Over 1,500 investors were impressed with their business and campaign which led to them overfunding by 121%, closing their Seedrs round at just over €2.4m.
We sat down with the founders to learn more about their funding journey and plans for the future.
Tell us about how Wavepiston started?
One day our co-founders Kristian and Martin discussed, why hasn’t anyone succeeded in wave energy before? So they started investigating the topic. After a while they came up with the concept that we have now, the ‘Force Cancellation Concept’.
They realised they needed to do more than just build the concept out of the garage. They needed to start working together with offshore companies and industrial innovation companies to make this concept impactful.
Tell us about your fundraising journey before Seedrs?
When we were taking the product from idea to launch, we did a first initial round with some friends, fools and families (including ourselves – the 3 founders). After that we did a few more rounds in our network but these were always smaller rounds. They were needed to cover our prototype system and to validate it.
We reached a point when we needed a larger amount of capital in order to grow. So we got some public direct funding and the Seedrs crowdfunding round.
When you came to Seedrs, why did you decide it was the right time to raise a round for Wavepiston?
We wanted to raise capital of course, but we also wanted to reach a larger group of potential investors. So it was both to share the positive message that we wanted to get out there and get the funding in.
At the time of your Seedrs round, what other fundraising options did you consider, and why did you choose crowdfunding? What were your goals from crowdfunding?
We used Seedrs to top up our round as we already had a few big investors secured. We investigated different platforms that we could use in order to crowdfund, but decided Seedrs was the best fit for Wavepiston.
The reason why we chose Seedrs was that there was way more flexibility. We didn’t know how much funding we wanted to get in at that point of the time and Seedrs was the most flexible in order to make an agreement. We had the ambition to raise €2m from both direct investors and the Seedrs investors and we ended up with €2.4m!
As we are a B2B company, the marketing aspect of the crowdfunding round was less relevant to us, but it was more to create awareness and spread the word about Wavepiston and wave energy in general.
How did you pitch crowdfunding to your lead investors?
Some of our investors were a bit hesitant in the beginning. Mainly because it was more complex than anything else we’ve done before. With Seedrs there is a lot of paperwork involved, especially as we’re based in Denmark, but in the end the process is quite smooth and worthwhile.
We just had to make our investors realise that there was a real opportunity here and once they realised this too they all got behind the idea.
What are your thoughts on the popularity of crowdfunding in Europe as a way to raise funds? Do you think this is becoming a more mainstream way to raise funds?
It’s not that mainstream in Denmark. It’s getting more known, and it’s starting to take off, but countries like Sweden and Finland are definitely more ahead with this concept of raising funds.
In Europe, people need a lot more education on this. It’s not just a get in and get the money process, you really need to think about the approach, strategy and time you’ll put into your campaign.
Talk us through what running a campaign was like?
The paper and legal work is definitely the most challenging. We already started on the video pitch before and that’s definitely a good foundation. Once the campaign is live, it’s very straight forward.
You’ll have some questions come in on a daily basis, but besides that, no rocket science. We made use of the marketing package that Seedrs offers so we can reach out to even more people and that worked really well for us.
You need to consider that you need to be constantly available to answer the questions asked on the forum and you need to take the time to answer in detail. You can’t just copy paste from another question, you need to respond to each question with a lot of thought.
What were some of the aspects of crowdfunding you weren’t aware of that turned out to be essential for a successful round?
Before we started the discussion with Seedrs, we really wondered how the nominee structure worked and what the actual benefit was. Turns out this is a very positive aspect of raising funds with Seedrs, as you only have 1 shareholder in the company (Seedrs), but you get a whole community of investors behind the nominee that are ambassadors of your company.
Seedrs also has a Secondary Market, which allows investors to sell their shares before an actual exit. Alternatively, our investors could also sell their shares without using the Secondary Market, but it’s not as liquid and it will take much longer to get the cash in.
How would you describe your overall experience working with Seedrs?
Our experience with Seedrs and their team has been really good. In fact, we are considering another round on Seedrs in the near future because we were so pleased with the collaboration and the results from our crowdfunding round.
What have the proceeds from crowdfunding/your Seedrs round helped you achieve so far, and what plans do you have in the pipeline for the upcoming months?
The round that we did was crucial for the growth of our company. We needed the money in order to keep the company going.
We’ve continued our development and have now installed our system in the sea, making our first trial installation to see what is working and what is not. Our technology and design has improved and we’ve started purchasing most of the parts needed in order to install the real full-scale installation in 2022-2023.
Aside from the funds, what have been the long term benefits of your crowdfunding campaign?
We have increased the awareness of our business, got good coverage in the press and we now have laid the foundation for growing Wavepiston in the future.
We can confidently start working on our second round because of the success we’ve seen in our first round!
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